Rare plants stolen from Lexington plant nursery

The thief got away with thousands of dollars worth of plants.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 6:03 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Lexington plant nursery was burglarized over the weekend. The thief got away with thousands of dollars worth of plants.

Jennifer Wilson, the owner of Wilson Nurseries and Plant Co., says whoever did this knew exactly what they were doing.

“you would have to know the value of these specific plants, these 25 or 30 plants that were stolen, to walk in or break in, actually, I suppose, and steal those plants,” said Wilson. “So you know what you’re doing, and so it’s kind of personal.”

Wilson says sometime this past weekend, someone came to the Palumbo Drive property after hours, cut the plastic covering of the greenhouse and headed straight toward the rare and unusual plant section.

“We know it was someone within the plant community who had to have known what they were doing, specifically which plant they were stealing,” Wilson said.

Some rare plants go for more than $500.

“We get really excited when we get one of these rare plants or when we grow one of these rare plants and its successful,” said Wilson. “so they’re kind of special...they’re little gems within the plant world.”

Greenhouses have been dealing with theft before. It’s called ‘proplifting.’

“Where people just rip the plant out, shove it in their purse or whatever they have, and leave the pot behind,” said Wilson Nurseries Director of Greenhouse Operations Skylar Stacy.

Some customers have been known to steal a plant’s leaf.

“I guess they think it is going to start a new plant for them, like propagate and grow a whole new plant that way,” said Stacy.

That doesn’t always work. But the workers at this nursery are worried that there is a black market for their rare plants.

“That’s a concern for us,” Stacy said. “That there is a market for it, and we are a target for getting those plants.”

Wilson says these plants are rare because they’re difficult to get in-house and reproduce.